Don’t neglect your calves – Part 2

The routine is done in a tri-set fashion. Basically three exercises back to back to back, without stopping. Each exercise is 30 repetitions at a moderate pace. There should be no pause at the bottom, and a slight pause at the top, or peak contraction. Be sure to avoid bouncing at the bottom of the rep. This will greatly take away from the concept. It should be a smooth, fluid motion. Constant tension is key here. The first set is typically done in a standing calf raise machine, although a seated calf raise may be substituted. The second set is standing with toes on a short ledge or weight plate, with body weight only. The third set is done the same as set #2, but with heels on the plate. This gives only the upper range of the rep and focuses on peak contraction. You will need something to hold for balance on the second and third portion of the tri-set. This rotation is done 3 times. In between tri-sets, deep stretching of the calves is necessary. Aim for a minute of stretching. This will be as difficult as the working portion, and just as important. You will notice increased muscle pump due to stretching of the surrounding muscle fascia. The muscle fascia is tissue that surrounds or “houses” the muscle. This can be very tight around the calf muscle. The idea is to stretch this out, so you have more room for muscle growth. So here is what it should look like, on paper:

• Standing calf raise 30 reps
• Standing bodyweight calf raise (toes on plate) 30 reps
• Standing bodyweight calf raise (heels on plate) 30 reps
• Deep calf stretching 30 seconds to 1 minute
• All with no rest in between
• Complete full circuit 3 times with 2 minutes rest between full circuits

Remember, this is not for the faint of heart! Make sure you are properly warmed up, and prepare to be sore! If you want to improve your overall physique you don’t want to neglect any body part…including your calves. Besides that fact, a good set of calves can also make a great pair of legs look even better!